Two of the most influential voices in sports media will be staying together for a few more years. Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon have signed multi-year extensions with ESPN and will remain on board as hosts of “PTI.” The two friends and on-air partners have hosted the hit show together since October 2001.
Along with executive producer Erik Rydholm and coordinating producer Matt Kelliher, they have turned PTI an institution. The contentious but good-natured verbal sparring between the hosts was born from the kinds of conversations they had for years in The Washington Post newsroom as sports columnists and colleagues.
PTI is currently ESPN’s most-viewed daily studio program. It averages over a million viewers each day, combining the original air on ESPN (5:30pm ET) with the immediate re-air on ESPN2 (6:30pm ET). PTI is also ESPN’s most-DVR’d studio show with the household rating jumping 30 percent from time-shifting (Live to Live+7 Day). In addition, daily podcasts of the 30-minute PTI rank among the most popular offerings on the ESPN PodCenter platform and the Apple iTunes store. In fact, over the last three years (since September 2013), PTI has been ESPN’s most popular podcast with more than 100 million downloads.
Said Kornheiser: “The fact that ESPN would give me yet another extension at my age indicates one of two things: one, they have never actually seen me on television. Two, they feel they are saving money on health insurance because they think I will have all my expenses covered by Medicare. Either way I am thrilled to be doing PTI with Wilbon and scaring the children.”
Added Wilbon: “We’re thankful and amazed that the great adventure of our professional lives has now reached 15 years. I love every single day of doing PTI as much now as when we started the show in 2001, having absolutely zero idea at the time of what we were doing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the whole wide world … except for the Cubs winning the World Series.”